Wednesday, 4 June 2014

UNISON calls on Glasgow’s councillors to end attack on workers’ rights

Wed 4 June 2014

UNISON, the union representing care workers, has lambasted Glasgow City Council for taking action against more than 60 hard-working carers for participating in official, lawful industrial action earlier this year.

The union is calling on the city’s councillors to step in and put an end to this attack on workers’ rights.

Glasgow’s care workers took part in industrial action as a last resort to defend a series of attacks on the services they deliver to the most vulnerable people in the city. In the last year, Glasgow City Council has closed three of its seven day centres; reduced the number of service users from more than 500 to around 150; cut the workforce by more than 40 per cent (from 248 to 147) and sought to impose new duties on the lowest-graded staff.

The council’s claims that our members failed to follow an instruction to attend training is incompetent, as the conduct is protected industrial action. In addition, an employer cannot legally compel an employee to carry out work that is the subject of a trade union dispute. Therefore the instruction in question is not one the employer was entitled to make.

Brian Smith, UNISON’s City of Glasgow Branch Secretary, said: “Our members took the difficult decision to strike as a last resort to defend the services that the most vulnerable people in Glasgow rely on.

“This action by Glasgow City Council breaches the limited protections afforded to workers taking part in industrial action in the UK and is a real kick in the teeth to hard-working carers.

“We’re calling on Glasgow’s councillors to step in and put an end this attack on workers’ rights.”

Mandy McDowall, Regional Organiser for UNISON, said:
“The investigations have involved several senior managers, HR officers, our members and their trade union representatives, and have been conducted at the four centres over four days. UNISON estimates that this must have cost at least £10,000 in staff wages and associated costs and more investigations are planned this week.

“The council needs to put an end to this costly process and put the focus back on delivering services.”


Note to editor
Glasgow’s support workers embarked on a series of strike actions between January and February this year. More information can be found here:
‘Keep Glasgow's older peoples residents safe’ say UNISON members as strike action goes ahead to defend standards and wages
Residential home care workers strike to protect services

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